The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the weakest areas of American and global society in 2020. It showed us where poverty remains unaddressed, the gaps in rural health care, and socioeconomic inequalities.
All of these issues weigh heavily on people. When you add sudden unemployment and economic uncertainty into the mix, you’ve got a recipe for mental health challenges.
As you can see from the facts gathered by Mental Health America, we’re all struggling a little more today than we were yesterday.
Facts About Mental Health in the United States
1. Mental health in today’s youth is getting worse. Approximately one in ten children have a severe principal depression diagnosis, which is about 5% higher than in 2019. Kids who identify as bi-racial have the highest rates, at 12.4%.
2. Suicidal ideation (thoughts and planning) is increasing among adults. Over 460,000 more people in the past year thought about killing themselves in the past year compared to the year before.
3. Adults with a mental illness and no health insurance increased for the first time in the United States since the Affordable Care Act. Over 5.1 million adults are uninsured, with Wyoming ranked as the worst state, with one in four not having health insurance.
4. Only 27% of youth with severe depression receive consistent treatment. That rate is even lower for adults who have a mental illness. These figures have risen every year since 2011.
5. 19% of adults experienced a mental illness in the past year, which is an increase of 1.5 million people from the year before.
6. 80% of the people who took an anxiety screening after COVID-19 ranked in the moderate or severe category.
7. Since the beginning of COVID-19, almost 200,000 people have reported frequent suicidal ideation. The rates of a successful attempt are the highest in the 11 to 17 age group, especially those who identify as being LGBTQIA+ youth.
We can do better. If you see someone dealing with a mental illness, encourage them to get help. You can dial 911 for immediate services, call 1 (877) 726-4727 for referrals to local treatment, or speak to someone at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255.